Kasich Vetoed Ohio's 'Heartbeat' Bill but Still Made Abortion Illegal After 20 Weeks

The Ohio governor opted for the less restrictive of the two abortion measures on his desk Tuesday, rejecting the bill that would have outlawed abortion after roughly six weeks into a woman's pregnancy.

by Lauren Messman
Dec 13 2016, 10:20pm

Photo via Flickr user Gage Skidmore

Ohio governor and former Republican presidential candidate John Kasich opted for the less restrictive of the two abortion measures on his desk Tuesday, rejecting the controversial "Heartbeat Bill," but signing a different bill that makes abortion illegal after 20 weeks, the Columbus Dispatch reports.

State legislators passed House Bill 493 earlier this month, which included language that would have outlawed abortion at the detection of fetal cardiac activity. This would have made it illegal for doctors to provide abortions after roughly just six weeks into a woman's pregnancy, making it one of the strictest abortion measures in the country.

The Ohio governor rejected the abortion-specific language in that bill, after expressing concern over its constitutionality, but passed the rest of House Bill 493, which dealt with new guidelines for reporting child abuse. Kasich opted instead to sign SB 127, which restricts abortion to 20 weeks after fertilization without exception for victims of rape or incest. The new law is the 18th abortion provision he's signed as Ohio's governor.

Kasich released a statement Tuesday, calling SB 127 "the best, most legally sound and sustainable approach to protecting the sanctity of human life." Although SB 127 is considered less restrictive than the Heartbeat Bill, pro-choice advocates don't consider the veto a victory.

"John Kasich is treating women's healthcare like a game," NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio executive director Kellie Copeland said Tuesday. "He thinks that by vetoing one abortion ban Ohioans will not notice that he has signed another. The 20-week abortion ban callously disregards the unique circumstances that surround a woman's pregnancy."